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This was the first vacation they had taken without the children. Their Aunt Celeste had offered to watch them for the whole weekend just so the couple could get away.

Melissa was exited about getting out of town. Although they had gone camping a few times, there had always been a dozen things to distract her from having a good time: where were the kids; which one was by the creek; which one had gone for a walk, etc.

Now she had Kevin all to herself and wasn't sure what she was going to do. There had been a lot of tense moments between the two of them lately. Had the love changed into something else? Were they together just out of habit? This weekend would tell.

As they pulled into their favorite campsite she took a deep breath and thought to herself that this would be pleasant no matter what.

After everything was set up Kevin asked her if there was anything she wanted to do. "Well, I'd like to go for a walk..." she answered.

Kevin knew by the tone of her voice that she wanted him to go with her, but he had other plans, "Well, you go ahead and I'll finish unpacking the cooking supplies."

Melissa couldn't believe it! Here was a chance for them to stroll along the path, hand-in-hand and he wanted to continue unpacking! She turned quickly, so he wouldn't see the anger and hurt and walked away.

Kevin knew shew was angry. Even if he hadn't seen the quick tears, just watching her stomp her hiking boots along the road would tip anyone off. He watched her firm behind in her snug jeans for a while before he stepped into the pop-up trailer they had.

He had a special surprise in mind for her. He knew she worked as hard as he did, if not harder, raising their two children, cleaning up after them, trying to make extra money selling Avon, being in the school car pool, and still treating him like a king in whatever spare moment she could find. This weekend he wanted to give her something to show he appreciated her.

The campground was empty this time of the year and that's why he chose now to come up here. He brought out a curious looking package and carried it down the hill a little way and set up his surprise.. Just far enough that Melissa wouldn't notice it when she came back.

It was pretty late in the day and with the pine trees covering the sun, dark came swiftly.

When Melissa returned to camp, it was to the wonderful aroma of steaks being broiled over the open flames. On the table was a large salad, baked potatoes in foil, two candles in glass vases, and a pretty tablecloth she didn't even know they had. In front of her plate was an arrangement of wildflowers and pine boughs.

"It's... beautiful!" Tears welled up in her eyes as she thought of the hurtful things she had in her mind as she had walked away earlier.

Kevin walked over and put his arms around her "Don't worry about anything, I want to take care of you tonight." Melissa was so overcome with emotions that all she could do was nod as she took deep breaths.

He seated her and brought her the dinner he had so carefully prepared. As they ate, the sounds of the peaceful forest surrounded them with the best possible music.

Afterward, he cleared the table and straighted the site while he made her sit in the hammock with a hot cup of cocoa with Godet mixed in.

As she finished it off, he helped her up and took her into his arms. At only 35, she was still firm in all the right places and most of his friends thought she was a friend of his oldest daughter. He knew she would always turn him on, no matter what she looked like.

After taking a deep breath, he took her by the hand and looked into her eyes. "Melissa, I would like to do something I've put off for a long time. I've set up something down the hill and I hope it doesn't shock you too much." Melissa frowned a little "What are you talking about?" As usual she thought the worst.

"Just believe in me, even if I mess something up a little, ok?" She nodded and he put a silk scarf over her eyes.

As he led her down the hill he started to tell her how much he loved her and that he was sorry for the times he took her for granted. He stopped by the surprise and told her to wait a minute while he finished something.

As she stood there, she could tell that something serious was going on. She could hear a lighter and suddenly smelled a rose incense mixed in with pine. While she knew these herbs were used for love and strength she doubted he had paid much attention to her when she spoke of her religion.

When he came up and removed the blindfold she blinked to focus on him. He looked nervous and this unsettled her even more; Kevin was never nervous. "I love you" was all he said as he turned her toward the table he had set up earlier.

It was a large slab of wood with two goblets, a plate with two small heart cakes, a piece of paper and two silver bands with matching designs.

"What's going on?" She wanted to believe what looked like a handfasting altar, but couldn't believe he would know anything about it or how to set it up.

"I umm..." Kevin was suddenly unsure if this was right. "I want to show you how much I want to be with you for the rest of my life, by doing this for you. I only hope I did everything right."

Melissa looked up at him "Are you asking me to fast with you?" Kevin swallowed hard and nodded. He couldn't believe how he felt.

Melissa looked at the "table" again and then back to Kevin. "I would like nothing more than to be joined to you. I have loved you all these years,but never knew how deep your love for me was until now"

Kevin hadn't realized he was holding his breath until he let it out. He held her for just a moment before turning to the altar. "Melissa, on this night, under the stars and moon, in the middle of this forest, in the eyes of your Goddess and God, I want to be joined with you for the rest of this lifetime. As equal partners on our road of life. I want you to be by my side as I will be by yours. I promise to treat you as my best friend, my lover and my partner. All I ask of you is that you stay with me." He took the smaller ring and held it close to his heart. "I want this ring to remind you that I will forever be your friend and partner. Will you wear it and remember that I'll always love you?"

Melissa took a deep breath to steady her voice and put her hand in his, as he slipped it on her finger, she said in a still quivering voice "I will wear your ring to show everyone the vow you have made to me"

She kissed him lightly, then picked up the other ring "I am not prepared for this, but I will say what's in my heart. The Goddess helped us find each other for a reason. I think it was so that we could both grow into the people we are. With you, I am complete and whole. With you, I feel safe and warm. With you, I feel loved. You have taught me things about myself I may not have discovered alone. I would feel honored to walk this road by your side. Will you wear this ring and remember that I am here, holding you in my heart and loving you for the rest of this life?"

As she slid the ring onto Kevin's finger he said "I will wear this ring to show the world that you will be by my side."

He handed her one of the cakes. She noticed that they were the same recipes she used for her Esbats. "I know you usually say something before you eat these and before you drink, but I don't know what."

Melissa smiled "Don't worry about that. I've never done a handfasting, so I don't know what to say either. Probably something about taking into us the God's promise to the Goddess of his love for her."

"Well, I do love you. I hope I make you happy, Melissa. I hope I'm always capable of making you happy."

"Kevin, you do make me happy. I've always worried that you aren't happy with me. That maybe you would be happier with someone else"

As they both realized that their worries were for nothing, Kevin looked at the altar. "What do we do know?"

Instead of answering him, Melissa ate half of her cake and drank half of her wine and nodded for him to do the same. When they had finished she knealt to the ground. "Goddess, you have always been here for me, and sometimes I didn't understand why something happened. Tonight I want to thank you for bringing us together and for being here with us. Accept this wine as my gift to you that you know I honor you." She placed the goblet baack on the altar.

Crumbling the remainder of the cake she said "God, accept this cake as my gift to you. I want to thank you for being here tonight and for helping guide our hearts together."

Kevin felt a bit self concious, but knealt down. "I want to thank Whoever is watching out for me for bringing this woman into my life" He quickly crumbled his cake and spread it as she had done.

Melissa helped him take the altar apart and began to walk up the hill. "Wait a minute. I wanted to do one more thing."

She turned around and he took her in his arms, kissing her deeply. He wanted to make love to her here, under the stars. He had already spread a blanket, thinking they would sit on it or something, but now he knew why he brought it.

He carried her over to it without releasing his kiss. As he lay her down, he could feel her hands in his hair and he started unbuttoning her shirt. He loved the way her breasts felt in his hands, soft and firm, warm and perfect. As the cooler night air touched her skin, her nipples hardened and he had to bend down to take them into his warm mouth.

She moaned under her breath as he teased each nipple to almost painful pleasures. He slid his hands under her and she arched up to him. As he kissed her stomach, he reached up and unbuttoned her jeans. Somehow she had already removed her boots and he slid the jeans off of her.

He kissed the inside of her thighs and knew she would probably come quickly. As he trailed kisses higher, she reached down to him and pulled him closer.

Melissa was beyond knowing what was around her. It was always this way, as soon as he started touching her, she lost herself in the waves of pleasure he created.

Finally she couldn't take any more of his passionate kisses, "Kevin, I need you to fill me with your love. Come up here and let me hold you" He slowly kissed his way up her body and kisses her breasts again before entering her. He felt her body release any left over tensions as they moved together.

The rythym was perfect and they held each other tightly. The love between them fueled the fires inside and they both flew to new heights together.

As they drifted back to reality and down to earth, Melissa couldn't hold the tears any longer. Kevin sat up and asked what was wrong. She shook her head while smiling up at him "I was just overcome with the love you have shown me. Thank you for tonight"

He lifted her up and as they headed back to camp, they both knew they were meant to be together.